Mark at Bible Design and Binding recently wrote about reading the ESV on his iPhone. A twist: he keeps his iPhone in a leather case so it kind of looks like a Bible:
When you consider how much I like small Bibles, it’s no surprise that the iPhone-as-Bible appeals to me. It’s the Bible I carry when I’m not carrying a Bible. Personally, I don’t like having a bunch of little devices to carry, so in the past I tended to leave digital cameras, music players, etc., behind. A cell phone is the only pocket device I’ve had the discipline to carry pretty much always. Because I can now read the Bible on my phone, I almost always have Scripture handy, no matter where I happen to be.
Mark has hit on something about using technology for religious purposes: you have to design it so people will use it. Susan P. Wyche, a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech, has been pursuing research along these lines. (See, for example, her IxDA talk about using sketches to capture the “consumption and appropriation of technology by evangelical Christians” in Kenya.) Prefiguring Mark, Susan and her colleagues sketched a leather-covered mobile phone for use in worship:
Academic research that explores the intersection of faith and technology is important for both product designers and religious publishers—technology, especially mobile technology, is spreading around the world and people are starting to incorporate it into worship.